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Alfven,Hugo(Emil)

stockholm composer uppsala violin

Alfvén, Hugo (Emil), eminent Swedish composer and choral conductor; b. Stockholm, May 1, 1872; d. Falun, May 8, 1960. He was a student of Johan Lindberg (violin) and Aron Bergenson (harmony) at the Stockholm Cons. (1887–90); during this period, he also pursued training in painting with Otto Hesselbom and Oscar Töornå. From 1890 to 1897 he was a violinist in the Royal Opera Orch. in Stockholm. He also studied violin with Lars Zetterquist and composition with Johan Lindegren (1891–97). In 1896, 1897, and 1899 he held the composer’s scholarship of the Royal Academy of Music, which allowed him to travel abroad, including a sojourn in Brussels to study violin with César Thomson (1897–98). From 1900 to 1903 he was a Jenny Lind scholar, which enabled him to study in various European cities, including Dresden with Hermann Kutzschbach, where he also received training in conducting (1901–02). From 1910 to 1939 he served as Director Musices of the Univ. of Uppsala. He also was conductor of the Orphei Drängar (1910–47), the Uppsala student-kars allmanna sangförening (1919–31; 1934–38), and the Svenska sangarförbundet (1921–43). In 1908 he was made a member of the Royal Academy of Music. He was awarded an honorary doctorate by the Univ. of Uppsala in 1917. His vivid autobiography was publ. in 4 vols, in Stockholm as Första satsen: Ungdomsminnen (1946), Tempo furioso: Vandringsår (1948), I dur och moll: Fran Uppsalaåren (1949), and Final (1952). Alfvén’s early training in painting is reflected in his adoption as a composer of a carefully crafted but colorful late Romantic idiom. He won distinction as a composer of orch. music and choral works. His folksong settings for chorus were particularly successful in Sweden. Outside his homeland, he remains best known for his popular first Swedish rhapsody for orch., Midsommarvaka (Midsummer Vigil; 1903).

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